Activities of Special Police and Guard Forces in the District of Columbia Can Be Improved

GGD-78-16: Published: Oct 4, 1978. Publicly Released: Oct 4, 1978.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Since 1789, a number of federal and District of Columbia agencies have been authorized by the Congress to establish special police or guard forces; in fiscal year (FY) 1977, the federal government had 11 forces and the District had 4 forces. These forces, consisting of about 2,800 officers, are independently adminstered by 14 federal or District agencies. In FY 1977, it cost the forces about $48 million, including administrative costs which were not readily identifiable, to provide security for 498 buildings either leased or owned by the federal or District governments.

Significant differences exist among the agencies in such matters as security of facilities, qualification for employment, training, and salaries. However, security responsibilities and duties are mostly the same. Each force has established certain administrative functions which have resulted in uneconomical and inefficient practices. Standardization of activities and some force consolidation may be possible, but because of Home Rule, consolidation of federal security forces should not include District government forces. Consolidation is a matter for the Congress to decide.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Whether or not consolidation occurs, the following actions should be taken by the Mayor of the District, the Public Printer, the Librarian of the Library of Congress, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Administrator of the National Gallery of Art: adopt a policy of acquiring goods and services from the General Services Administration (GSA); cooperatively develop standarized equipment and uniforms; seek assistance from the Civil Service Commission to develop standardized training programs, employment requirements, and compensation levels; and seek assistance from the GSA to develop guidelines for determining appropriate and affordable levels of security. The Director, Office of Management and Budget, should require heads of agencies over which he has jurisdiction to take these actions.


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 13, 2018

Mar 12, 2018

Feb 15, 2018

Feb 8, 2018

Feb 2, 2018

Jan 8, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 13, 2017

Nov 6, 2017

Oct 25, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here